It’s 7.04am. I’m already messing with my kit bag. Getting it out of the cupboard, checking its contents, picking a shirt.
It has been 6 huge months at least since I have felt the ice under my blades. Coronavirus had took away our training, our matches, our tournaments and our league expectations. It had also took away my fitness.
I was really nervous that those enthusiastic 5ks at the park at the beginning of lockdown were too distant a memory. Lockdown treats had swelled my gut, so much so that even tying my laces was a struggle.
This week was a full return to hockey not just the two teams that I play for but also for the team I coach. Training for the Hawks Academy is back. Sawyer managed to get some ice time, something he had missed dearly.
Although I wasn’t coaching this week he had 2 good sessions and found it easy to return back to the ice and keep up the pace needed. In these first sessions it is more about getting back with the team and seeing his friends.
I found it the same when I returned to the Blackpool Seagulls session. It was nice to see everyone but, we were all in the same boat, blown out after a run or two.
Everyone was tired expect Martin a Czech player who was notorious for his high speed, fast hands and tricky goals. There was a lot of puck chasing on my part. Mainly trying to catch Martin. I was exhausted.
I expected this, the lockdown had took its toll. On the bench Martin shared his secret. Short shifts. Play hard for your shift, typically 1 minute and then rest.
Despite my exhaustion it was so nice to get back on the ice and it was a good starting point.
The next session was the Blackburn Falcons. With a strong line up of high level players this was a worry, especially after the Seagulls blow out.
I needn’t have worried, I paced myself, just as Martin had suggested. The results were a leap ahead.
Over the session my passing improved, my positioning improved although that basic core stamina. After this weeks lesson the weeks goals will be fitness based. Now I have a starting point for my return back to the game.
After a busy week it was amazing to get to the rink, the ice, the people and I look forward to getting back to work on my game.